Identified for their calibre as researchers and their impressive track record, three CSIR National Laser Centre scientists, Drs Andrew Forbes, Lourens Botha and Anton du Plessis, have been appointed extraordinary staff members at the Laser Research Institute (LRI); part of the University of Stellenbosch's Physics Department. The CSIR and the LRI have been collaborating for many years. Head of the Physics Department and former director of the LRI, Professor Erich Rohwer says, "The LRI identified the CSIR's laser centre as an essential partner for progress in the research and education of postgraduate students in laser-related research. We selected these three scientists given their expertise in laser development and photochemistry (Botha), beam propagation (Forbes) and laser spectroscopy (Du Plessis), which will further strengthen our collaboration."
From left: Drs Botha, Du Plessis and Forbes
"Our main aim," he says, "is to ensure that our postgraduate students obtain training and guidance of the highest standard." He adds, "These scientists' track records in laser research and development speak for themselves. Their contribution to the aim of generating more, well-trained MSc and PhD students in the field of lasers and photonics will be significant."
The University of Stellenbosch appoints non-staff members as extraordinary personnel in a personal capacity to provide them with recognition as academic members based on their qualifications, expertise and collaboration with the department.
The CSIR National Laser Centre and the LRI have been the main drivers behind the Photonics Initiative of South Africa (PISA), an initiative aimed at stimulating multidisciplinary research, human capital development and creating economic benefits for South Africa via photonics. Rohwer says, "I am very happy with this development. The management of the LRI is convinced that this formalisation of relations between two of the strongest research groups in South Africa engaged in laser research is a significant step towards achieving PISA's goals."
Botha heads the CSIR National Laser Centre's laser physics and technology capacity, which involves fundamental and applied research into laser systems; mathematical optics; biophotonics; and femtosecond science and spectroscopy. Forbes, a principal researcher, is research group leader of the mathematical optics and the centre's user facility. He is also an honorary staff member of the School of Physics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Du Plessis is the centre's femtosecond science research group leader.
Enquiries: CSIR Communication